Imagine your spouse is missing and police are investigating you in connection with the disappearance.
And then you get a postcard from your spouse.
Would you call the police?
Jere Bagenstose didn’t.
Both a private detective hired by Maryann Bagenstose’s mother and a Pennsylvania State Police trooper sent Jere Bagenstose postcards.
Jere Bagenstose, 67, was charged Thursday with a single count of homicide in the death of Maryann. She was last seen alive June 5, 1984.
Lancaster County District Attorney Heather Adams said police were trying to “provoke something new in the investigation. … The idea being if she’s still alive, perhaps you want to make somebody aware of that.”
Richard W. Jeffries, the private detective, began sending notes and postcards purportedly from Maryann in September 1984, according to charging documents. Bagenstose never contacted police.
Jeffries also interviewed Bagenstose shortly after Maryann’s disappearance.
During the interview, charging documents said Jeffries told Bagenstose that he could see how a husband could kill his wife in an argument and dealt constantly with such cases.
“Jeffries stated that he looked Jerry in the eye and said, I think you're hiding something and you can’t live with it. Jerry's eyes welled up with tears and he said ‘It wasn’t really an argument,’ and then he just kind of stared,” the charging documents said.
Reached Thursday, Jeffries said he could not comment because the case was still active.
Then in June 1998, a Pennsylvania State Police trooper sent Bagenstose a postcard purportedly from Maryann.
Again, he did not contact the police.
The next month, the trooper interviewed Bagenstose’s stepdaughter who, according to charging documents, told the trooper, “Jere was emotionless about getting the postcard and acted like it was no big deal.”